Build a Dresser with Two Ikea Rasts

This was a project that I’d been interested in doing for quite some time. The boys are still pretty young just two and three, so we haven’t really had the need for a large dresser since everything fit easily into things we’d acquired over the years or fit nicely in their closets. Building my own would be a fun challenge but because I was super interested in trying this out, and with a busy holiday season, I decided to stop at Ikea on the way back from Thanksgiving to pick these up.

I was finally able to track down the original post here that inspired me to build our toddlers something similar. It’s a good post, I didn’t do a whole ton different and in fact probably skipped some steps. Definitely check it out, as well as my journey down below.

The Inspiration from IkeaHackers

The Plan

Now I didn’t get as fancy for a couple of different reason but definitely worth exploring, especially if you’ve got the time and you’re clients aren’t two and three years old respectively. Much like the original, I wanted to make a solid top for each of the dressers, seemed like a good way to fancy them up and tie them both together as one large piece.

Once these were unpacked from the car and in the workshop it was time to build. These are pretty basic Ikea builds and if you’re well versed in Ikea parts, then this should be a breeze. I built all four pretty quickly maybe 30-40minutes of total time once you factor in the box opening and stacking pieces.

So a quick note on assembly….

You’ll notice in the photo above the tops of these sit just below the side panels. Which if you’re not making a top and you don’t necessarily care about this detail, you’re all set. However if you do want to make them flush either for aesthetics or a top piece like mine you’ll need to trim these down.

This process is significantly easier, if you remember to do this prior to assembly.

If you make this mistake, it’s probably best to take them apart, trim them down and then reassemble. There are definitely a few options if you do make this mistake, using a router or sanding it to death. I of course just ran them through the table saw to remove the excess material.

The Build

Joining the two cabinets is pretty simple. Also you might consider sanding these down prior to joining them together. It doesn’t really matter, but for some it may make it easier so that’s something to consider.

I’m certain I likely over did this part, but I used about 12-15 screws that were 1 1/4″ in length so that they didn’t poke throw. The panels aren’t as thick as the appear in pictures and probably could get away with a 1″ screw. Because these screws will never be seen and the tracks stick out a bit, I didn’t see a need to counter sink these screws flush but that’s an option as well.

joining to chests of rasts
I used about 12-15 1-1/4″ screws

The Stain

Once the cabinets were together this would have been the ideal time to sand and prep for stain, however I don’t know what came over me. I’m not sure if it was “Holiday Dad Brain” or what, but my excitement to get these done just took over and without sanding or pre-stain conditioner I started to apply the finish. This is a terrible idea because it’s always good practice to prep the wood before applying stain but also Pine in general is very blotchy. The good news for me, I wanted a pretty dark green which involved several coats of stain, also I was fortunate to have forgiving clients, a two and three year old!

I used a water based Minwax color stain in Hunter Green.

The Tops

While the dressers were drying it was time to move on to the tops. Again keeping my clients in mind, I planned on using from reclaimed wood from these massive 4″x8″x9′ that I picked up locally. However since it was my first time re-sawing the first few boards came out a little rough and a little warped and were kinda of a beast even for me to handle. I got enough pieces in decent of enough shape to do a glue up for one top. For the other, I decided it wasn’t worth the time and effort in the cold, and so I picked up a couple 2×4’s from my local home center.

With all the boards I cleaned them up best I could, roughing them down and cleaning them up getting them nice and square and flat.

using a planer
Planing the boards flat.

The Glueup

Once that was all setup I used some dowels and glue and got the tops into clamps. Remember to top from both underneath and on top to prevent as much movement during this process as possible. Working with the reclaimed wood was a little tough so you’ll see on the right hand side below I was going to trim down the tops anyways once they were dry so that little gap towards the end wasn’t a huge deal.

Clamp from both sides, top and bottom (only bottom shown below).

The Knobs

While the tops and dressers were drying I moved on to the knobs. I wanted the knobs to be the one thing different between the two boys dressers. I had other grand plans, which I may still do down the road, but for now I settled on two different knob colors for each of them. To get them painted and dried along with the other pieces I used a Krylon spray paint and get the knobs for each a quick few coats and the spray paint not only came out  great but really saved me in the dry time.

Ktrylon Yellow and Orange Spray Paint

Attach the tops

The final steps here were to attach the tops to the dressers. Before I did this though I made sure to use my router and cleanup all the sharp edges with a quarter inch round over bit. Then I took all the drawers  out of each dresser which made it very light and easy to flip over to attach screws to the tops.

Attach the top using 6 screws per cabinet, remember two cabinets make 1 dresser!

Top Coat and Stain

Once the tops were attached I dragged the started on the top coat of stain and lacquer. I looked at a couple options and then decided to go with a VARATHANE® Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain in Sunbleached color. It came out ok, but I honestly didn’t love it. My wife thought it looked good and we figured it wouldn’t be long before the boys are old enough to want to change it anyways so we left it and applied 5 coats of high gloss lacquer, because we both just prefer the look over semi-gloss and satin finishes.

Wrap up

Finally attached the knobs and the backs(even though no one will ever see the backs) and put them in the rooms. Overall they look pretty awesome. They’re not perfect but for the cost and opportunity to try this hack, I was quite pleased. I think this is a really good option especially for younger kids where function is really the most important part of most furniture.

The Ikea Rast Hack

If you have any thoughts or suggestions feel free to hit me up in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you think and welcome any feedback.

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About the author : Will Schmierer

By day I'm a Front End Developer. By nights and weekends I'm a passionate woodworker and content creator. I'm also a husband and father of three with two toddlers and a teenager. Life is constantly a balance and there is never a dull moment. My passion for wood working re-emerged a few years ago when my wife and I bought our first home in Virginia after many years of living in Miami. A lot of things in my life contribute towards my passion for building and making, but I think the route of that stems from my time at University of Miami's School of Architecture. I'm not only a graduate of the school but one of it's biggest fans. It's all about the []_[]

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